[This is a re-post of the interview Myka was so sweet to do earlier this year. If "backyard swing" is on your Christmas list, the ones from Rosedale are beautiful!]
When I was little, I had a backyard swing made of wood. It was just a plank of scrap lumber with some rope that hung over a tree branch, but I loved that thing. I remember pumping my legs to make it go high; having a friend twist it round and round, so that it would spin until I was so dizzy I was almost sick.
Although I love the trees at our house now, the one thing that disappoints me about them is the lack of a low, strong branch to put a swing on. Eh, we have to save a few dreams for the next house, right?
I hadn't thought about that swing for a long time, until I recently discovered the Rosedale Swing Company. Their swings remind me of mine that I had as a little girl, only--because of their environmentally friendly practices and really cool personalization--they might actually be even cooler. I'm happy to have them as a My Bit of Earth sponsor for the next few months, and to have Myka--the Rosedale scribe, as I hear told--answer the following questions from me:
Me: I was touched by the story on your site about your childhood swing providing inspiration to begin the Rosedale Swing Company. I had a wooden swing just like that when I was a kid too, and if I think about it hard enough, I can almost feel the ropes in my hands. Tell us a little bit about the process of going from that bolt of inspiration to a successful business.
Myka: I had been searching for a business that would bring smiles and joy to others, so when the bolt of inspiration hit I knew this was going to be an interesting road through research and development to achieve the best quality products. It took 6 months from conception to launch our business.
First off, I knew I could not do this on my own. Our son, John, readily agreed to join me in this venture and to become my business partner. His woodworking skills and detail precision were my right-hand in developing and building the traditional swings I envisioned.
Daughter-in-law, Debbie, has the administrative talents necessary to run a successful business. Her input and business experience has hauled me through the maze of technological adventures.
To find the resources to purchase environmentally friendly products, and learning to splice and knot the ropes was quite a challenge, but the answers came from unexpected corners. While travelling the West Coast in our RV, I came upon a retired fisherman who took the time to teach me the ropes, literally and physically! My husband did get used to seeing me travelling with rope in hand so I wouldn’t forget the rope tying lessons.
By October we had our first prototypes tested for strength and comfort and our first photo-shoot took place as the leaves began to fall. Four sizes were developed at this stage.
From the first day our website was launched on December 25th 2011, our customer’s enthusiasm has been overwhelmingly positive! We are filling a void that an artificial petroleum based swing purchased in a big-box store just can’t fill. Our all-natural, traditional rope and cedar swings are bringing many smiles and joys to people of all ages: our customers range from age 1 to 80! Rosedale Swing Company swings have been given as gifts for weddings, anniversaries, graduation, in-memoriam, births, birthdays, mother’s day and father’s day… and the list just goes on! Our customers have brought us many smiles and pleasures with their swing stories.
Me: I try not to make myself crazy about it, but when I can buy more environmentally friendly/less toxic toys for my Kiddo, I most certainly do. Tell us about your environmentally friendly practices in making each Rosedale swing.
Myka: Like you, we try our best at choosing environmentally friendly products whenever possible. However, when it comes to manufacturing goods, we feel it is our full responsibility to do our utmost to leave only the smallest possible carbon footprint behind!
Every aspect of our product is all-natural and organic. Both the wood and the rope are renewable, sustainable and grown organically. We are dedicated to reforestation projects within British Columbia through our support of TreeCanada. A portion of each swing sale is donated semi-annually to this non-profit organization. We are very excited to tell you our first pledge to this wonderful organization will be fulfilled this month with trees being planted in the BC interior to reforest the scarred mountainsides of the Okanagan.
For our cedar seats we chose a non-hazardous finish manufactured on our Canadian west coast. These products are water-based with low toxicity, very low VOC ingredients and a focus on the environment. Our packaging and literature is all printed on, or made up of, recycled material.
Our left-over products are not considered waste material. The delicious scented cedar shavings are packed into 100% organic cotton drawstring bags and packaged in bio-degradable cellophane sleeves. You can now find these Aromatic Cedar Sachets available on our website. I use the remnants of cedar for my pastel art panels, and the heavier pieces are donated to fellow artisans for wood carving and crafts. The garbage man will never find any swing material in our roadside bin.
Me: I see that you offer customization on your swings. What is the strangest or most beautiful thing anyone has ever asked you to engrave on a swing?
Myka: Oh my, there are so many favourites! The one that really stands out for me is engraved on a custom built Eagle with a back rest: HEARING THE EARTH’S SONG TOGETHER. This swing hangs where two rivers meet and overlooks the canyon between two lakes! Of course, the very popular LIVING LAUGHING LOVING: TOGETHER never fails to touch us. Isn’t that what swinging together is all about?
Me: In your photo gallery, I see that some people have installed your swings indoors! Would I be the best mom in the world if I let my son have a swing in our living room? Or should I insist that swings are only "outside toys"?
Myka: You would be the "best mom in the world" if you installed a swing in your home. Now he can swing & exercise anytime regardless of the weather.
We have swings in our home. When our grandchildren or their cousins come to visit they make a run for it before I can even get a hug in. Indoor installation is so simple too. A quick release clip makes it very easy to install or to take down when you need the space for other functions. The larger sizes make for a lovely conversation piece and can be substituted for a chair. With book and a drink at the end of the day it is a real treat!
Thanks Myka! And, for the rest of you, if you need a beautiful backyard swing--and who doesn't?--please do go check out the Rosedale Swing Company!